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Historical Archaeology

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 267–287 | Cite as

The North Dakota Man Camp Project: The Archaeology of Home in the Bakken Oil Fields

  • William R. CaraherEmail author
  • Bret Weber
  • Kostis Kourelis
  • Richard Rothaus
Original Article

Abstract

Over the past three years (2012–2015), the North Dakota Man Camp Project has documented the archaeology of home in over 50 contemporary, short-term, workforce-housing sites in the Bakken oil patch in western North Dakota. This article integrates recent scholarship in global urbanism, archaeology of the contemporary past, and domesticity to argue that the expansion of temporary-workforce housing in the Bakken reflects a global periphery that lacks infrastructure or capital to respond rapidly to the pressures of an increasingly fluid movement of global capital and labor. The position of the Bakken produced short-term housing strategies that embrace both traditions of American domesticity and global trends in informal urbanism. A series of practical acts of architectural intervention straddle the line between the ideals of fixity characteristic of the American suburb and the mobility of recreational vehicles. The archaeological and architectural analysis of the Bakken man camps documents new forms of informal housing and offers a glimpse of the city yet to come.

Keywords

North American archaeology extractive industries archaeology of the contemporary world temporary settlement camps North Dakota oil 

Extracto

A lo largo de los últimos tres años (2012–2015), el Proyecto Campamento para Hombres de Dakota del Norte ha documentado la arqueología del hogar en más de 50 emplazamientos de viviendas de trabajadores, contemporáneas, de corto plazo en la zona petrolífera de Bakken en la parte occidental de Dakota del Norte. El presente artículo integra estudios académicos recientes en urbanismo global, arqueología del pasado contemporáneo y domesticidad para argumentar que la expansión de las viviendas para trabajadores temporales en el Bakken refleja una periferia global a la que le falta infraestructura o capital para responder con rapidez a las presiones de un movimiento cada vez más fluido de capital y mano de obra global. La posición del Bakken produjo estrategias sobre vivienda a corto plazo que aúnan tanto las tradiciones de la domesticidad americana como las tendencias globales en urbanismos informal. Una serie de actos prácticos de intervención arquitectónica oscila entre los ideales de fijación característicos del suburbio americano y la movilidad de los vehículos recreativos. El análisis arqueológico y arquitectónico de los campamentos para hombres de Bakken documenta nuevas formas de alojamiento informal y ofrece un esbozo de la ciudad del futuro.

Résumé

Au cours des trois dernières années (2012–2015), le projet de chantier du Dakota du Nord a apporté des informations sur l’archéologie de la maison sur plus de 50 sites de logements contemporains, de courte durée, pour travailleurs dans les champs pétroliers de Bakken dans le Dakota du Nord. Cet article intègre des études récentes en urbanisme global, en archéologie du passé contemporain et en domesticité pour indiquer que l’expansion des logements temporaires pour les travailleurs dans la formation de Bakken reflète une périphérie mondiale dépourvue d’infrastructure ou de capital pour répondre rapidement aux pressions d’un mouvement de plus en plus fluide des capitaux mondiaux et du travail. La position de la formation de Bakken a produit des stratégies de logement de courte durée qui embrassent tant les traditions de domesticité américaine que les tendances globales en urbanisme informel. Une série d’actes pratiques d’intervention architecturale oscillent entre les idéaux de la caractéristique de la fixité de la banlieue américaine et la mobilité des véhicules récréatifs. L’analyse archéologique et architectural des chantiers de Bakken prouve de nouvelles formes de logements informels et offre un aperçu de la ville future.

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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • William R. Caraher
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bret Weber
    • 2
  • Kostis Kourelis
    • 3
  • Richard Rothaus
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of Social WorkUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksU.S.A.
  3. 3.Department of Art and Art HistoryFranklin & Marshall CollegeLancasterU.S.A.
  4. 4.North Dakota University SystemBismarckU.S.A.

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